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June 23, 2021
Whitmer responds to Atlas suggestion that Michigan should 'rise up'

What you need to know about coronavirus on Wednesday, January 6

The country has been adding 1 million new infections every four to six days since late November, and the total US case count topped 21 million Tuesday. A record 131,100 people are currently hospitalized with coronavirus across the nation, according to the Covid Tracking Project.

It will likely get worse. Experts have said that holiday travel and gatherings could help fuel another surge of infections.

In California, officials say ICU units in at least two regions are filled to practical capacity. Some EMTs have had to wait with patients outside hospitals for hours because the facilities don’t immediately have space to take them in.

The tragic toll of the pandemic is still mounting. According to new preliminary data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Covid-19 was likely the third leading cause of death in the country in 2020 after heart disease and cancer. The CDC estimated there had been between 316,252 and 431,792 excess deaths in 2020, with more than 300,000 of those directly attributable to the coronavirus.

As the numbers spike, governors are now taking new measures to get the vaccines that have been distributed into arms faster, including mobilizing National Guard members and training more volunteers to administer shots.

And while Trump administration officials admit Operation Warp Speed fell well short of its target to get coronavirus shots to 20 million Americans in 2020, there’s still no sign of an aggressive federal push to address the problem.

YOU ASKED. WE ANSWERED

Q: How much will a Covid-19 vaccine cost?

A: The federal government has said any coronavirus vaccine will be provided to the American public for free. And that promise is unlikely to change under a Biden administration.

Send your questions here. Are you a health care worker fighting Covid-19? Message us on WhatsApp about the challenges you’re facing: +1 347-322-0415.

WHAT’S IMPORTANT TODAY

WHO team blocked from entering China to study initial outbreak

The World Health Organization (WHO) said that China has blocked the arrival of a team investigating the origins of the coronavirus pandemic. “I am very disappointed with this news,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said

at a news conference in Geneva on Tuesday. “I have been in contact with senior Chinese officials and I have once again made clear that the mission is a priority for WHO and the international team.”

Tedros said two scientists on the team had already left their home countries for Wuhan when they were told that Chinese officials had not approved the necessary permissions to enter the country.

These arrangements had been jointly agreed with China in advance, according to the WHO. China has said that it remains in close contact with the agency about finalizing arrangements for a visit to Wuhan.

New variant runs rampant in the UK

About one in 50 people across England has coronavirus right now. During a briefing yesterday, chief medical officer Chris Whitty said that while a new, more transmissible variant of the virus first discovered in the UK was initially spreading the fastest in London, the east and southeast of England, it was “now taking off in other areas as well.” This includes parts of the country “which have got some of the lower rates and had previously controlled things,” Whitty said.

The good news, according to the UK’s chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance, is that it is “unlikely” that the vaccines will not work against this strain.

‘End silence about what Covid-19 is doing to US prisons’, Warren says

Defeating this pandemic begins with understanding the extent of the problem, and that starts with addressing the alarming shortage of comprehensive data from state and federal prisons and local jails, write Sen. Elizabeth Warren and professors Lauren Brinkley-Rubinstein and Kathryn Nowotny in an opinion piece for CNN.

ON OUR RADAR

TOP TIP

Motivating kids to do schoolwork was hard enough in pre-pandemic times. For many parents heading into another semester online, it’s more than everyone can handle.

Here are some ways to motivate your children (and yourself).

TODAY’S PODCAST

“If you can come up with a vaccine within a year, why are we sitting in a community where there is no grocery store with fresh fruits and vegetables?” — Rochelle Sykes, Austin, Chicago resident

Vaccine distribution in the US is going to rely on local pharmacies and supermarkets, but what if your neighborhood doesn’t have either? CNN’s Omar Jimenez takes a closer look at “pharmacy deserts” and the impact they can have on communities trying to access the shot. Listen now.